Tuesday, April 15, 2008


----- Original Message -----
From: viji
To: viji123@yahoo.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 2:23 AM
Subject: {UnitedHinduFront} Successful first mass conversion of Dalits to Hinduism in TN-- latest news

Dalit Christians embrace Hinduism

Tuesday April 15 2008 10:42 IST
V Kritika

TIRUNELVELI: AS many as 296 Dalit Christians including 150 men, mostly farm labourers, converted to Hinduism at a ceremony arranged by the Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) at Sangeetha Sabha in the city on Monday.

This is the first ever-mass conversion in the State. The reason for the Dalits to take such an action was the discrimination they continued to suffer at the hands of upper caste Christians in their respective parishes.

While the police claimed that only 296 Dalits converted to Hinduism, the HMK leader Arjun Sampath said around 800 members from 185 families - 500 men, 220 women and 80 children took the decision.

The Dalit Christians, a mix of Protestants and Roman Catholics from villages around Tirunelveli were originally Hindus who had converted to Christianity five generations back.
The converts were from the Kattampuzhi, Pannampaarai, Anandhapuram, Radhapuram and Thisayanvizhai villages. The conversion ceremony started at 6 am with Ganapathy and Sundarshana homams.

A group of priests - Sengol Athinam, Sankarananda Swamy, Sadasivanandha and Ragavendra Swamy - performed the rituals for the mass conversion.

After the Dalit Christians confirmed that they were willing to embrace Hinduism on their own volition, the priests sprinkled water brought from the Ganga and the perennial local river Tamirabarani on the Dalits who were also given new clothes on the occasion.

After the formal conversion ceremony, new Hindu names such as Vallinayagi, Mangayarkarasi, Arumuga Sundari, Abirama Sundari, Vedhakani, and Sivaramalingam was given to the converts.

In addition to the naming ceremony, the respective sect symbol depending on their past allegiances - sacred ash for the Shaiviites and the U-shaped tilak for the Vaishnavites were given out.

After the ceremony, the converts offered prayers at the famous Swamy Nellaiappar - Gandhimathy Ambal Temple in Tirunelveli Town.

It may be noted that the ceremony was originally planned to be held at the Nellaiappar Temple but the organisers had to change the venue after the state government refused them the permission.


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